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Objectivity in History

Mark Bevir
History and Theory
Vol. 33, No. 3 (Oct., 1994), pp. 328-344
Published by: Wiley for Wesleyan University
DOI: 10.2307/2505477
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2505477
Page Count: 17
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Objectivity in History
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Abstract

Many philosophers have rejected the possibility of objective historical knowledge on the grounds that there is no given past against which to judge rival interpretations. Their reasons for doing so are valid. But this does not demonstrate that we must give up the concept of historical objectivity as such. The purpose of this paper is to define a concept of objectivity based on criteria of comparison, not on a given past. Objective interpretations are those which best meet rational criteria of accuracy, comprehensiveness, consistency, progressiveness, fruitfulness, and openness. Finally, the nature of our being in the world is shown to give us a good reason to regard such objective interpretations as moving towards truth understood as a regulative ideal.

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